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992804 Posts in 66133 Topics- by 16254 Members - Latest Member: sounds7
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1  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Income Inequality on: Yesterday at 09:01 AM
And, therein lies the problem. There are an awful lot of people in this country with checkers level understanding of what is a three dimensional chess board level economy. The video is a snapshot, not a fluid discussion of how the wealth grows or shrinks.
2  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Thoughts on Bernie Sanders on: Yesterday at 04:42 AM
Truth to tell, socialism has indeed proven itself around the world.

The countries that use such a system often have happy well adjusted people with ready access to goods and services they need, a workforce just as annually productive as ours despite much more time off, and solid economies that compete with us on a global stage.

When we used such a system more intentionally, we built such a strong middle class and subsequent economy that dominated the globe. The remnants of it are the few things still holding us up as well as we are.
Or at the very least, people working full time jobs should not need to seek poverty benefits to supplement their income so they can get by.

Amen. We are a very immature society. We have yet to grow out of the infantile "me, me, mine" of the two year old.
3  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Thoughts on Bernie Sanders on: Jul 29, 2015, 03:19PM
"Socialism practiced by a group is one thing; socialism imposed by a government is quite another."

Socialism by govt takes from one group and gives to another; socialism as a choice means people share.

Bernie Sanders is of the take mindset. It's not grounded in morality

Absolute power corrupts Absolutley

What a crock. In this country the government IS the people. Socialism by government takes what is produced by the people and sees that it is distributed in the manner that most efficiently achieves the goals and objections "We, the People" have prioritized through our elected representatives, which includes providing adequate incentives for individuals to strive for personal success.
4  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Thoughts on Bernie Sanders on: Jul 28, 2015, 02:56PM
Unless multidimensional... your are where you started...180° is more appropriate.

 You missed his point. Think about it a little more deeply. They are in the same place, but they are looking in exact opposite directions.
5  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Thoughts on Bernie Sanders on: Jul 28, 2015, 06:49AM
I'd dispute that, if we are forced to ping one of two simplistic labels onto people. It used to be true, some years ago, when you first joined. Now, not so.
Besides that, the US perspective is pretty skewed to the right. What we may see a moderate liberal would actually very likely be a moderate conservative in most of the West ... as I understand it.

Most definitely. I am, to this day, an Eisenhower Republican. That puts me significantly to the left of Clinton Democrats.
6  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Thoughts on Bernie Sanders on: Jul 28, 2015, 04:21AM
Welcome to the mosh pit, Joe. You will find there are those of us who don't seem capable of discerning shades of grey, only black and white.

Dusty, there is no such thing as "free-enterprise", or "free-market" capitalism. Never has been, never will be. It is just a matter of who gets to put what controls on it, and in this country today it is the worst of the worst who are rigging the system. Unfettered capitalism is as bad, or worse, than true socialism or communism, neither of which has ever really existed in the real  world. With the exception that the government of the USA was a 100% textbook definition of a socialist state from Dec.8, 1941 until the end of WWII. A successful society attains a healthy balance of the best aspects of all the "ISM's". The Social Democracies of Northern Europe have been around for 1000 years, and they have got a much better grip on it than we do. We are an immature, juvenile society that hasn't matured past the "me, me, mine" stage of a two year old in many aspects of our governance.
7  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Yamahas? on: Jul 25, 2015, 01:42PM
You look at the model number

located......... at the slide connector?
8  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Yamahas? on: Jul 25, 2015, 11:10AM
Ok, now, if I walk into a pawn shop and see a Yamaha trombone, how do I determine which model it is? Is it listed on the bell, Like a 3B or a Strad."
9  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Jul 25, 2015, 08:31AM
Here is a post I posted in the Iran thread, but it is worth re-posting here. This from a friend I have had since middle school ( we called it junior high back then). He went on to get a PhD in Nuclear Physics, and has spent more than a third of a century as an inspector for the NRC. His knowledge base FAR exceeds that of any of the Congressional talking heads who are so vocal in their opposition to this deal. His opinion is far more credible than any of theirs.


For those following the news, I have been pulsed by some of my family and friends asking my opinion regarding the agreement between the 8 member E3/EU+3 (US, China, France, Germany, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, and the High Representative of the European Union) and the Republic of Iran to eventually lift economic sanctions stemming from Iran’s strategic nuclear weapons program. I have read the publically available version of the agreement and have had some discussions with some of my associates and friends connected with the international nuclear safety and safeguards community. While the agreement is detailed and may seem too complex to be successful, the issues it seeks to control can be boiled down to one question involving 2 isotopes. Can the agreement successfully limit and control Iran’s access to strategic quantities of 1) highly enriched uranium, and 2) plutonium? That’s it.

My bottom line: I believe the agreement is a positive step toward ensuring that Iran for the next 15 years, will not undertake to develop or acquire nuclear weapons. I support implementation of the agreement and urge the US Congress to do the same.

What the agreement does not do:

• It does not ensure Iran will not pursue troublesome military, political, or other material support activities of belligerents to western interests.
• It does not return several Americans known to be held in Iran on bogus charges.
• It does not end or remove all Iranian nuclear infrastructures that could be used to develop nuclear weapons.
• It does not guarantee that Iran will not conduct covert nuclear activities (see my discussion on this topic below).
• It does not stop Iranian demonstrations where crowds are seen spewing hatred of the US, burning our flag in their streets, or yelling death to America.
For those items above, the agreement process did not have these as goals and the negotiations were deliberately limited to the nuclear weapon issue.

What the agreement does:

• Limits for 15 years Iran’s ability to produce strategic nuclear materials (highly enriched uranium or plutonium) in amounts sufficient to produce nuclear weapons.
• Allows Iran to continue to produce low enriched uranium (less than 3.67%) for use as an economic commodity or for use in reactors for production of power or medical and other isotopes. Note: Enrichment is the ratio of the fissile U-235 isotope to the non-fissile U-238 isotope. Natural uranium found in nature contains only 0.7 percent U-235 so it must be enriched to 3-5 percent to be used in commercial reactor fuel. Weapons grade High Enriched Uranium HEU (much greater enrichment than commercial grade) or plutonium is needed to make fission nuclear weapons. HEU is very difficult to make and separate but is relatively easy to detect by technical means. To make it requires very sophisticated pieces of equipment, which must be fabricated, in part, using certain rare and exotic materials. It requires very large facilities that consume huge amounts of electricity. All of these features make it extremely difficult to do, to hide, and to be successful at.
• Ends the use of reactor fuel in Iran that can be used to efficiently make plutonium.
• Prohibits Iran from reprocessing spent reactor fuel and the construction of facilities that could be used for reprocessing. This step will eliminate the plutonium access path.
• Requires Iran to redesign its current heavy water reactor and design any future reactors to use fuel enriched only to less than 3.67%. This is within the range of enrichment for commercial nuclear reactors and such material, in any amount, cannot, due to physical reasons, be made into nuclear weapons.
• Places solid controls and verification on the amounts of uranium feedstock mined and produced.
• Commits Iran to ship out of country all of its used or spent nuclear fuel.
• Commits Iran to implement the IAEA “additional protocol” for clarifying past and present outstanding issues such as former suspicious activities carried out at military facilities. (This part bears scrutiny).

The agreement puts Iran under a large and stringent IAEA inspection regime with resources permanently located in Iran, which are monitored and controlled by the IAEA. I have led IAEA inspections and know a number of IAEA personnel. I have high confidence in the IAEA and its inspectors. Its monitoring techniques and measuring equipment is top notch.

There have been questions raised about the ability of the inspectors to inspect unlisted or suspect sites such as military facilities or other potential covert locations. This was a particular concern of mine. There is a process in the agreement spelled out for such scenarios. My reading is that such inspections if objected to by Iran will be referred to a committee of the sponsoring countries and that even if for example, Russia and China agree with Iran’s objection, the inspection could still be mandated by a vote of 5 of the 8 members of the agreement (for example, US, Great Britain, France, Germany, and the High Representative of the European Union). Thus, the inspection could be mandated and the inspectors given access, or Iran would be in violation of the agreement. So inspections of suspect undeclared sites can be mandated although after the passage of some time. But this deserves scrutiny in the Congressional hearings. Now here is the part that is not clearly understood by non-experts. The ability of Iran or anyone else does not exist to remove all traces of special nuclear material that would exist at such locations had covert activities involving the materials ever taken place at the location. That is key. Weapons grade nuclear materials give off unique electromagnetic spectra that are detectable and distinguishable from spectra of non-weapons grade nuclear materials. And this is true of even very small, trace amounts which IAEAs measurements are capable of readily detecting. So even if weeks or months of delaying occurs with the intent to cleanse, paint, bury or by other means remove all remnants of a clandestine activity, I have every confidence the experts of IAEA would be able to detect these signature isotopic ratios to establish whether any past clandestine activities involving weapons grade material had occurred.

I am reminded of this by the results of measurements taken by IAEA years after the clandestine Syrian Al Kibar reactor was destroyed by Israeli bombing in 2007. The international community strongly condemned Israel for the bombing. This reactor was designed by the rogue state of North Korea but had not yet gone into operation despite new fuel being stored on site. This was a covert site, undeclared to the IAEA even though Syria was a signatory of the International Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. After the bombing, Syria did not allow any access to the site. For months, it removed all traces of the site, trucked off loads of debris and soil and re-graded the site with borrowed soil. After IAEA did finally get access to the site years later, their measurements were able to clearly determine the presence of traces of enriched uranium contained in the unburned fuel. I am sure this did not escape the notice of Iran.

I have been listening to the rhetoric from all sides. I am particularly interested in the opinions of Israelis who could be most at risk if this agreement fails. Such opinion in Israel is not uniform in thought, as you would expect. I am not impressed so far with alarmist and false comparison statements made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comparing the situation it will leave Iran in as like that of a meth dealer, who could simply flush everything down a toilet in the time given before an inspection takes place (see my thoughts above re: inspections). For my friends who follow international events based solely on US news outlets, you should read some of the news sources originating from Israel on this for a better cross section of popular opinion there. So I will keep reading the English versions of Jerusalem Post, Haaretz and other Israeli news outlets for the range of opinion. Perhaps I am overlooking something important. If so, I have not heard any politicians or scaremongers specifically identify what that may be. I’ll keep listening and reading.

Thankfully, Israel has done a very good job of policing the nuclear agenda of its neighbors. I remember distinctly an event in 1981 when I was a young physicist working for the NRC. While doing a rotation at our Silver Springs Maryland office, I was one afternoon in the technical library when I noticed several Israeli engineers looking over some schematics of various nuclear facilities. I spoke with them briefly and asked what brought them to the NRC. They said they were looking at system designs. I noticed the schematics they were looking at were of reactor containment domes. I assumed it was because they may be interested in building a commercial reactor. A few weeks later, Israel successfully bombed the Osirak reactor near Baghdad, which it suspected was being used to breed plutonium. (An interesting tidbit, prior to this during the Iran-Iraq war in 1980, Israel urged Iran to attack this reactor for the same reason, which it did causing damage that was later repaired. This was the first instance of a preventive attack on a nuclear reactor aimed to forestall development of a nuclear weapon. The subsequent Israeli attack was the second instance).

Then in 2007, Israel bombed and destroyed the Syrian Al Kibar reactor as described above. So the State of Israel will also continue to monitor Iran’s activity, and I feel assured they will take action if they deem their national security is acutely at risk.

And many point to the last time the world faced a similar scenario where it tried and failed to stop North Korea from going nuclear. In that case, North Korea was never a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Nevertheless, once they threw the inspectors out, the world powers did nothing. I do not believe that will be the case if inspectors are thrown out of Iran.

Something I will say about Iran. Two of my best friends in graduate school before the 1979 revolution were Iranian. They were very warm and good friends who helped me with my research and especially with my computer programming, which I always struggled with. Sadly, I have never heard from my friends since they went home following the revolution. I miss them and hope they have led good lives. Their generation are the parents of the post revolutionary Iran. I read now where 70 percent of all Iranians were born after the 1979 revolution. I do not believe the majority of these young people have deep seeded hatred for the US or any other country. I believe most of these young people of Iran long for peace and prosperity like young people everywhere. Their numbers matter and their time is coming. I believe 15 years from now Iran will be a changed country. The timeframe of this agreement reflects such an optimism, but is not contingent on it.

So that’s where I am on this issue today. You are welcome to fire back. You may ask what external factors may unduly influence my opinions. Well sit back because it’s a broad spectrum. I was born and raised a Jew. My mother’s family was hard working down to earth southern Methodists, mostly conservative Republicans. I married a foreigner, a secular woman from a Muslim country of the former USSR, Azerbaijan, whose father was an Admiral in the Soviet Navy. Her sister worked for the KGB. My 35 year professional career was as a nuclear physicist with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). During my career, I performed many consultancies to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. I also coordinated on behalf of the NRC special IAEA inspection protocols at several US nuclear facilities. I believe in Ronald Reagan’s slogan he spoke of after agreeing to the successful Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty with the USSR. “Trust, but verify.”

Sorry for the length of this post. It is an Important issue for all to consider.

- Blair
10  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Thoughts on Bernie Sanders on: Jul 25, 2015, 06:08AM
It should be called "Golden Showers" economics. It's much closer to the reality.
11  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Jul 25, 2015, 05:22AM
That is an idiotic statement, even for you, Dusty.

 And, there are multiple misrepresentations in that article. First of all,, this agreement DOES provide for 24/7 access to ALL of Irans nuclear facilities. The extended period for inspections is for military facilities that ARE NOT currently nuclear sites, but might be turned into places where Iran might try to cheat. There is not much in the way of nuclear development that can be done to a site, either building or dismantling, in a months time, and detectable traces of any fissile material remain even years later. So, the whole inspections argument is a red herring political ploy to cover the right's continuing attempts to scuttle any and everything the Obama administration works for, even if it is bad for the country. Borderline treason.

Secondly, at the point the negotiations started, and still today, Iran was 2 months away from breakout status. Even BIbi has admitted that. This agreement widens that window to a year, and maintains that for at least 15 years. Those on the right act as if time, and negotiations, stop the day the agreement is enacted. That is a ridiculously myopic view, and goes back to the obstruction issue. 15 years is a long time to make multiple returns to the bargaining table, bringing Iran ever more back into the list of good actors in the world.

 As for an arms race in the ME, that is also a red herring. Israel already has a hundred, or more, nukes. We have far more leverage over the Saudis and the Egyptians than we do over Iran. So long as we can show them the agreement is doing what it is designed to do, world diplomacy should be far more than capable of curtailing a nuclear arms race in the region. They are ALL signatories to the NPT.

Now, as far as our having compromised our bargaining position by acknowledging the sanctions regime wouldn't hold together, that is pure hogwash. These negotiations were multi-lateral. Iran was talking to China and Russia at the same time they were negotiating with us. They knew, good and well, that if these negotiations didn't get this done the sanctions regime was going to go away one way or the other. China and the Europeans are anxious to get Irans oil back into the markets, and everyone but U.S. Wants to open Iranian markets for their business interests. Our negotiators weren't giving Iran any leverage they did't already have, they were giving a reality check to the numb nuts in our Congress, and those who support them, that it was a do it or lose it set of negotiations that we're going on. This IS the best deal that could have been made.

 In 15 years, Iran will be a year away from achieving a nuclear weapon, if there are not better negotiations done in the meantime. If we are stupid enough to walk away from this deal, Iran is two months away from a nuclear weapon tomorrow. The right NEVER believes diplomacy can work. Their ONLY consideration is brute, bullying force. As a parent of a U.S. serviceman I am incredibly grateful we have heroes like John Kerry and Barack Obama running this country rather than the chicken Hawks on the right.
12  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Thoughts on Bernie Sanders on: Jul 25, 2015, 04:50AM
Nope! You're wrong. BTW, argue the facts, not the sources. 

There ARE NO facts in that ridiculous piece. Lots of suppositions, opinions, and fabrications, but NO facts.
13  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Jul 24, 2015, 01:47PM
Rand Paul is the only one of those  with their hat in the GOP ring that I would give less than a 50/ 50 chance of starting another war in the ME.
14  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Jul 24, 2015, 04:40AM
And, last night another radicalized, lone, white gunman opened fire in a crowded theater, killing 2 and wounding several before turning the gun on himself. I'll bet you dollars to pennies he wasn't a Muslim.
15  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Jul 23, 2015, 07:04PM

The Obama-Haters claim that we could have starved Iran if we continued the sanctions further.  They have hurt, but not killed Iran.  Iran was managing to build uranium centrifuges and enrichment facilities with the sanctions.  Had we not set up this treaty, they probably would have been able to create a "dirty" nuclear device in a few years.  Whether they could get it to Israel is a matter of conjecture.

When negotiations started, Iran had a two month breakout time frame. They have maintained that timeframe since then, but have made no further progress. If the deal is implemented, that breakout time will be extended to a year becuase of concessions they are making. Kerry is doing an excellent job in his public appearances and Senate testimony of making clear exactly what the consequences of approving or condemning this deal are.
16  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Jul 23, 2015, 06:19PM
This week's effort;

Win/ Win?

It’s an axiom that politics is the “art of compromise”. Sadly, every institution we have in this country is set up so compromise is a virtual impossibility.

From sports to courts, from labor relations to foreign relations, and in our political discourse, this country is built on the concept of adversarial confrontation. It is really difficult to get to a win/ win proposition in a system that demands a winner and a loser.

I spent a career on the edge of a system where many police officers and prosecutors were more interested in their won/ loss records that they were in actually getting to the truth of what happened in a specific incident. It is a regular occurrence to see someone released after 20 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit because the folks in the justice system cared more about their next promotion or election campaign than they did about the truth.

I have always found labor negotiations in this country to be a stupifyingly counter-intuitive process. In far too many instances, the win/ lose character of labor/ management negotiations results in a lose/ lose out come. Management “WINS” a contract negotiation only to see production drop and training costs skyrocket as workers leave for better jobs elsewhere. Or, labor “WINS” great benefits and wages in the short term, only to see their company fold under the burden.

Madness! Management and labor SHOULD BE a united team to get the best product to their customers at a price that will ensure they are competitive, while providing the best, most balanced package of wages, benefits, and dividends the market will allow. Their interests are not mutually exclusive.

And, now we have the Iran Nuclear Deal. It is a remarkable example of a win/ win proposition. The world gets what it wanted in the negotiations, an Iran with no nuclear weapons program for at least 15 years, and Iran gets relief from the crippling sanctions the world has been applying on them.

The adversarial nature of our politics requires that one side must view this as a loss if it is allowed to happen. They are doing all they can to scuttle what is an excellent deal.

Should that happen, the US will be a pariah in the diplomatic community, and those small minded people will get the ultimate lose/ lose proposition it seems they want. War with Iran.
17  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Jul 23, 2015, 04:53PM
Um, Troy was in Greece, and the rest of your illogic is of about the same quality. Do I need to post pictures of bombed out churches sand clinics or lynchings to show the fallacy of your arguments?
18  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Yamahas? on: Jul 23, 2015, 10:08AM
Thank you, guys!
19  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Yamahas? on: Jul 23, 2015, 06:14AM
Can someone please tell how to identify what level horn a Yamaha is? Does a higher number denote a higher quality horn?
20  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Jul 19, 2015, 12:13PM
So, start one. He was a kid who battled depression in a society that blanketedly villifies people like him whether they are radicals or not. I would remind you he killed half as many people as the Christian White Supremicist did less than a month ago.
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